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Poll: Noise generators for hybrid cars to keep people safe?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 22, 2012 2:44 AM PDT

To give you some perspective to this poll, please give this CNET blog a read:
Do hybrid cars kill you with silence?

Do you think car manufactures should be mandated to install noise generators on hybrid cars to keep pedestrian safe?

-- Yes. (Why?)
-- No. (Why not?)
-- I'm undecided. (Please explain why?)

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Small world. We have such a car and
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 22, 2012 2:58 AM PDT

As our kids learn to drive we train them to tap the horn lightly as they back out or cross over some blind spot. In our case it's something we are already doing by using the mandated sound system.

But given the Nanny State we are heading towards, I think this will be mandated.

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We don't need more regulations
by tyreless2 / May 22, 2012 8:47 AM PDT

In these days of government regulation(s), we certainly don't need more. Enough is enough.

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More Regulations.
by Thats_Just_Me / May 22, 2012 1:12 PM PDT

I agree that drivers. They DO need to follow the rules that are already out there.
You also need to relize that others have just as much right toe the road as you.
You can't drive safely & talk on a cell at the same time.

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Silent,hybrid cars.t

Years ago, when LONDON had electric, silent trams, I don't recall it being a problem then. Pedestrians need to take more care; in my experience, car drivers are more aware than cyclists and pedestrians, who don't appreciate the danger they put themselves and others in.

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Noise generators.

There isn't a problem with lack of noise from hybrids. It's just that we have programmed our brains to listen for engine noise when we are close to traffic. Tyres produce much more noise than modern engines, you've just got to get your brain to tune in.
If you can hear traffic on the highway, it's not the noise of the engine you are hearing it is the noise from the tyres. Of course there are exceptions, some of the badly maintained pick-ups folk seem to favour in the U.S.A. sound more like someone dragging a sackful of scrap metal around, but you've trained your brains to listen for that excrutiating noise.

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Tire noise
by Paul Dellechiaie / May 22, 2012 11:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Noise generators.

What you say is true enough at moderate to high speed, but at very low speed, my Prius (2010) makes no engine sound while operating off the battery and very little tire noise. Actually, the electric system does make a high-pitched whining sound outside that my girlfriend can hear readily, most of the time and I can hear occasionally. But her hearing's a bit unusual-- she's a trained musician with a high-frequency cutoff somewhere around 30KHz (as opposed to the usual 20KHz or lower). She has managed to sneak up on me in the car on a couple of occasions.

Tire noise is dependent on what surface the car is on. There is none on dry, solid pavement, a sort of hissing sound from water being flung off the tires and hitting the insides of the wheel wells while on wet pavement. and the usual crunching, etc. sounds on gravel.

So, in a parking lot, driving at sane parking lot speeds, on dry pavement, and with the gas engine not having kicked in yet, there's not a lot to hear (unless you're a bat, a dog, a dolphin, or my girlfriend) and I am mindful of this.

I am torn between thinking that some kind of noisemaker wouldn't be a bad idea and a general distrust of yet more regulations. I'd probably buy a gizmo that generates a burst of engine-ish noise when I press a button, rather than being on all the time. I'd use it instead of the horn in those situations. I think it would be more polite. Save the horn for when they obviously know I'm there and are just walking down the middle of the row "because".

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At certain speeds...
by cggage / May 22, 2012 9:01 AM PDT

I would not object to some kind of white noise generator at parking lot speeds. Above a certain speed it could shut down. There'd be enough tire noise at that point. It would cost a dollar to do this and it might save a life.

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parking lot speeds
by aeparker / May 22, 2012 9:11 AM PDT
In reply to: At certain speeds...

This is the appropriate solution! It's the parking lots where they will be coming slowly & silently. We are not as attentive in this surrounding.

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too quiet!
by aeparker / May 22, 2012 9:09 AM PDT

My daughter has a Prius and she almost always has it in electric mode. You don't hear it coming up behind you in a parking lot!!!! Never mind if you have your head buried in a cell phone. I have almost gotten hit several times by cars I did not hear. I just turned to walk across the parking lot, no auditory clues! Never mind I have attended a few too many rock concerts. It would be much safer if they made some kind of a ticking noise so pedestrians heard them.

Cyclists are supposed to obey all the same rules as cars, so they should be looking for cars as well as pedestrians. I think cyclists should make noise as well! I have been almost run over by them both as a pedestrian and as a driver. Passing on my right when I have my right blinker on? Shocked

This is one thing I would like to see installed on cars. It's really a safety thing, not like anti-lock brakes.

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no noise generators for hybrid cars
by elaan2 / May 22, 2012 9:11 AM PDT

People have forgotten how to walk safely on roads and then wonder why they get hit. They wear dark clothing, wear ear buds and have traffic come from behind them. Then these same people expect the drivers to keep an eye out for THEIR safety. First these pedestrians should make themselves safe. If drivers can't see you, how can they let you know they are there? People with ear buds in don't even react to regular cars behind them and get upset if you blow the horn.

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Responsibility is key
by belnbst / May 22, 2012 9:12 AM PDT

I have a hybrid and yes, it is very quiet, which is why it's important as a car owner to be more responsible when driving. This means that going around blind corners and being cautious in neighborhoods is mandatory.

I'm very careful and knowing that my car is quiet, I just take extra steps to ensure that no one gets hurt when I drive.

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Noise generation for hybrids
by 1109cw / May 22, 2012 9:12 AM PDT

Not just for hybrids; what about all those electric cars. But do we need to add to the ambient noise. Bicycles have bells to warn of their approach. Perhaps cars should have something less than the usual car horn to do the same. And then make it compulsory for the warning signal for cyclists and pedestrians. I would hate, however, to have the blaring that some cities have. But a continuous noisy presence no thank you.

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Abosolutly not.
by windpsalm / May 22, 2012 9:23 AM PDT

Get with the 21st century. Sounds like complaints are akin to buggy whips. People who are hearing impaired have no problem, they just have a different mind set.

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It is obvious

It is not that pedestrians and cyclist should be more aware of these quiet cars, the DRIVER should be more aware that the pedestrian or cyclist that are coming up on can't hear them so they should give a gentle tap on the horn or relax. Noise generators would only just add more to the cost of these already overly priced vehicles.

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Hybrid car nonsense
by ABCXYman / May 22, 2012 9:30 AM PDT

The only noise coming from a properly tuned, gasoline car with effective silencer, is that from the tires on the road. Assuming that hybrid and electric cars do have wheels, there should be no difference in the relative sound. Try listening to a few modern gasoline cars. The hybrid lack of noise danger is pure myth.

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They must have thought of that.
by AriKona / May 22, 2012 9:31 AM PDT

My mother just bought a hybrid (her third) and it has a beep tone that is generated whenever it backs up. Hopefully, when the car is going forward, she is watching where she is going and won't surprise someone (with or without a noise generator). I am in agreement that with the number of regulations we currently have, we really don't need any more. However, we could use a lot more responsibility on the part of the drivers, like paying attention to their driving rather than texting, talking on the phone, eating or the plethora of completely stupid things people do while piloting a 3,000 pound piece of metal that can kill even more people at once than a bullet. Alas, that would be asking too much, wouldn't it?

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Noise what is that
by ericajoan / May 22, 2012 9:36 AM PDT

Please consider the world of the hard of hearing
would all the noise in the world help us
the wold to us is already quite
Noise will not help
yes i do have two aids one for each ear adds noise
dont need more

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Why encourage stupidity
by mklprc / May 22, 2012 9:46 AM PDT

We have way too much regulation to protect the stupidest and least competent now. At most, cars should have an additional horn: a whistle or bicycle bell (remember them? Thought not.) that can alert people something is coming without blasting them out of their skin.

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Hybrid cars.
by peek27127 / May 22, 2012 9:58 AM PDT

I don't know why anyone would think that these cars need to make a noise. A lot of regular cars are quiet and can come up beside you with out being heard. Walking, one needs to very aware of where they are walking or crossing the road. Hybrids are still big enough to see. But let someone complain and there will be a law made. But hope not.

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why not switch to diesel
by danneauxs / May 22, 2012 10:06 AM PDT

Seriously, my wife's Camry isn't a hybrid but is dead quiet and it's quite a few years old now. The other day she pulled in to the driveway while I had my back turned and it wasn't the MOTOR that alerted me it was the sound of the tires rolling over the cement. Cyclists can't hear a hybrid but THEY don't make noise so pedestrians can hear THEM. So many people are waling and texting/talking/surfing etc. they don't notice delivery trucks about to run them down. I watch one woman almost step out in front of an ambulance with it's lights and siren on.

People are stupid and oblivious. That goes for me too sometimes. Maybe it's time the herd is thinned out.

No, no one needs to die but pain is a teacher. Maybe shock collars on the pedestrians that don't pay attention LOL.

Ok, kidding aside any noise make will quickly just become background noise we'll automatically filter out. That's the way it works.

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Re: Hybrid vehicles too quiet!
by rossboone / May 22, 2012 10:07 AM PDT

Within the past few months I traded an '02 Dodge 2500 Cummins. This was the last year of the loud ones. I have come so close to running pedestrians over so many times, even with the racket of these things. Texting while walking and/or having a set of earphones jammed into your ear listening to music while walking/jogging/biking is what every pedestrian believes they have a GOD given right to do. How many times have you seen someone with their head down, fingers diligently typing out a message, and the person walking right across the street without even a glance to see where they are. And throw in the driver doing the same and it is a recipe for human road kill stew. We could fund our entire national debt if the authorities started nailing these pedestrians who leap and never look.

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Absolutely unnecessary

We in the U.S.A. who favor badly maintained pick-ups that sound like dragging a sackful of scrap metal around, already make enough sound to alert any oncoming pedestrians with just the windows open in our hybrids.

We talk loudly, we are rude, and we basically scream at anyone who gets in our way. Not to mention the Metallica or Billy Joel blasting out of our hi-def Toyota factory installed speakers. There's no need for noise generators. We are the noise generators.

Oh, and let the pedestrians fend for themselves. Pedestrians need to take more care and train themselves to be on the lookout at the slightest change in air temperature or pressure - always vigilant for silent hybrid vehicles traveling in their direction while they are tending to their children for an instant, or casually strolling through a parking lot on their way to make a donation to a worthy registered charity.

I mean, who cares about pedestrians? When did they get the right of way anyways?

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Noise generators?
by gtrobert / May 22, 2012 10:14 AM PDT

I have a '95 Celica convertible and can't count the number of times I have started to back out of a parking space or enter a parking lot and people walk in front/behind me and suddenly jump and say to the effect that they never heard me. Remember when the women had to walk in front of motorized vehicles with lanterns etc to warn people of approaching vehicles? Maybe we should try that again.

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by fiated / May 22, 2012 11:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Noise generators?

... require everyone to turn up radio to 11 (we live in a nanny state anyway... may as well dictate our personal space noise levels too).

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making cars noisier
by kruegerh / May 22, 2012 10:36 AM PDT

I guess they need to develop a new dictionary. As yet there is no word which will properly describe that much unbelievably stupidity. Charge those morons at least $100.00 "per". I guarantee they will obey traffic laws. If not, then you'll save the taxpayer large amounts of money, and perhaps (ha-ha-ha) lower taxes for those who need it most.
If they insist on breaking the law and get killed, hire more garbage trucks, pick this scum up, and depose it where it belongs; the garbage dump. Trouble is, of course, that if we get rid of criminals and wrongdoers, our (so-called) justice system is going to suffer.

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Noise generators for hybrid cars to keep people safe?
by gunnerds / May 22, 2012 10:38 AM PDT

If you can't see a car I think you should get run over. And before you people jump on your soap boxes about blind people and other disabled people (which I am one. I have Brain Cancer) The blind have dogs and canes. There are cross signals.

So there are no reasons to make noise pollution. I think the world would be a little bit better with less noise.

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Educate the drivers.
by cell14 / May 22, 2012 11:31 AM PDT

I bet those statistics were made in the U.S., where pedestrians and bicyclists are considered useless vermin. At least here in South Florida driving a bicycle or walking the road is extremely dangerous, with or without hybrids on the road. I felt my safer as pedestrian/ bicyclist in the Netherlands where the laws and the driver education are entirely different.

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The problem is self correcting
by ldinorci / May 22, 2012 11:34 AM PDT

I don not believe that adding noise to hybrid vehicles will only serve to increase costs to solve a problem that is scientifically understood to correct itself. This problem self corrects through a process known to Science as Natural Selection. Individuals who are not aware of their surroundings will be killed and have less reproductive opportunities than those who are fully aware of their surrounding and, therefore live to reproduce. The genes for awareness will be favored and, over time, those genes would be more prevalent among the population. Over many generations, you will see a marked decrease in the number of pedestrian fatalities because a larger percentage of the population would have that genes that provide the human organism with the heightened sense of awareness of the surroundings. It stands to reason that you will see the prevalence of these genes in modern industrialized societies since clean fuel technologies are usually found in these societies.

More information Natural Selection can be found in a book sold on Amazon, or if your budget doesn't allow, your local library may carry the book.

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Natural Selection
by TheBig3 / May 22, 2012 6:07 PM PDT

I have to agree whole heartedly with you.

We have, for some reason, become a nation, a people that now exist outside the natural processes and consider ourselves better, separate, different from every other single species on the planet. We protect those that would otherwise fail, at both life and surviving. If some kids fail a class, it's now the teacher's fault; did the rest of the class fail as well? Do people in Africa blame the elephants if they stampede and kill some villagers? I'm sure you would hear the trumpeting telling you they're coming.

We cater to the ignorant; we dumb everything down to the lowest, dumbest individual.

If anything we probably need less regulations to allow for more natural selection.

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1 of 9 Undecided
by netsiu / May 22, 2012 11:35 AM PDT

It would be helpful to hear something coming but the old rule "Stop, look both ways twice before crossing". Don'tcha think that should mean changing lanes also?
Kind of hard to do while eating breakfast, reading morning/evening paper, applying makeup, groovin to the tunes(probally wouldn't hear a simi anyway), texting/talking on phone or any and all other distractions. Once saw a man ride his bike out in front of a car( lucky the driver was alert) while looking at his watch while taking his pulse. Also that man showed us his age or number of active brain cells when the driver honked.

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